SWEAT At The New Copley Theater encapsulates how corporate greed can corrupt us.

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Aurora, IL is coming back from Covid and a restructuring program where downtown is resurfacing with great restaurants like Stolp Island Social, which I highly recommend as the food is delicious. Already known for its excellent live theatrical performances at the Paramount Theatre, Aurora now boasts the beautiful New Copley Theatre. This state-of-the-art structure, which sits across from Paramount, shows off its elegance and features a comfortable theater that allows Aurora to double its theatrical performances. Lynn Nottage SWEAT is an ideal piece to bring to this theater.

Sn a poor American town, factory workers come to a bar to laugh a little and try to drink their food and their fears. But, with one of the factories threatening to close if employees did not accept severe pay cuts and major concessions, many feared that their long-standing commitment to a company could end in long queues where friendships and families would be ruined.

When rumors spread that the company was planning to fold, leaving union members on the chopping block with no options, intense flairs, when scabs (non-union workers) cross the lines. The changing trajectory of each worker’s life and the human costs and fears about the loss and reduction of their jobs drives racial hatred.

Playwright Lynn Nottage’s SWEAT is a compelling and compelling story about how greed can corrupt civilization. By pitting the workers against each other, we see the declination of a tight-knit group of diverse friends, Cynthia, Tracey and Jessie. They find themselves in a situation that destroys their confidence when one of them is promoted, causing envy.

The play begins in reverse chronology with Evan, a parole officer, chatting with two generational young factory workers, Tracey and Cynthia’s sons, Jason (Gage Wallace) and Chris (Emmanuel K Jackson). Jason, who has white supremacist tattoos on his forehead and a black eye, lashes out at Evan when pressured to describe what happened or discuss his future plans. Evan, then meets Chris, a reformed Bible-carrying prisoner who was once close friends with Jason. Both reluctantly tell their story to the officer about their current situation, their brief encounter, and the horrific events that got them imprisoned.

However, the main story centers on syndicate members Cynthia, Tracey, and Jessie, friends who meet regularly at the bar run by Stan (Randy Steinmeyer). It’s Tracey’s birthday, so the girls meet, drink and share old stories until Cythnia’s husband, Brucie (Joshua L. Green), whom she kicked out of the house, interrupts the pleasure. Brucie was also a proud union member who has been on the line, protesting for 93 weeks, and the stress and anxieties of not knowing if they will ever get their jobs back have changed him. He is now addicted to drugs, stealing and borrowing from anyone to help him cope with this stress.

When we learn that a supervisor position is available, Cynthia (Shariba Rivers) and Tracey (Linda Gillum) apply. But when Tracey loses to Cynthia for the job, she unleashes her rage on her longtime friend, as Tracey has been with the business longer than Cynthia feels more qualified. Disappointed with Tracey’s treatment, she comforts her friend by telling her that she should talk to her instead of belittling her to the other employees. However, instead of relishing her new position offline, Cynthia feels used as a scapegoat by the factory. When she informs her friends of the factory’s demands to cut wages to keep their jobs and they refuse to accept, they are locked out.

People call Cynthia a traitor. And when Tracey and Jessie (Tiffany Bedwell) arrive late to her birthday party and ask her to go out with them, or they’ll consider her a traitor, she lashes out, telling them she’s worked too hard to lose it all. just for friendship. But, with the pressure of life weighing on them all, the question is, can these long-standing friendships survive?

Sweat makes you feel every aspect of fate and fears regarding each character’s future by shedding light on how we look at each other and how quickly we can turn on each other when life makes us sweat!

While having multiple storylines can be confusing in a play, playwright Lynn Nottage, under the direction of Andrea J. Dymond, has done a superb job of telling their stories while bringing them together in this corporate drama. All of the characters in this play were great, but I felt Gage Wallace’s performance as Jason and Emmanuel K Jackson as Chris was the most impactful.

Sweat’s morality is subjugated by generations of white privilege and belonging, tending to its rewards and preventing majorities and immigrants from reaping the benefits. Sweat deals with these privileged and unprivileged workers detailing how living with or without privileges can, without warning, alter and change our lives. It’s through ‘SWEAT’ flashbacks that unfold and tell how friends end up becoming enemies caught in the economic death of deindustrialization at its worst!

Let’s Play ‘Recommend’ you watch ‘SWEAT’ at the Copley Theatre.

Copley Theater presents

SWEAT

BY LYNN NOTAGE

DIRECTED Andrea J Dymond

Now – April 24, 2022

Duration: 2 hours, 25 minutes

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